30 diciembre 2010

La canción de la semana #247

During this year, I was busy fixing some broken links on this blog. (Lots of them remain, so be patient.) we7, the UK-based free music streaming service (co-founded by Peter Gabriel), was a great help.

But things are always changing on the internet. we7 still provides music for free; however, now you have to register with it to hear more than 30-second previews. Alternatively, to keep on listening, you can allow we7 to interact with your Facebook account. Am I only one who is annoyed by this?

Still, I think it is a great service. Thanks to we7, I discovered some great music and great musicians. Such as Lou Pérez (1928—2005). Which brings us to the last song of 2010: El Baile Suavito by Lou Pérez y Su Charanga, from 1961 album Para la Fiesta Voy.

25 diciembre 2010

La canción de la semana #246

...is La Placita performed by Guaco, a gaita and salsa band from Maracaibo, Venezuela. ¡Feliz Navidad!

La Placita by Guaco on Grooveshark
Que bella está La Placita de alegrías y oraciones
Los poetas y cantores le cantan las mañanitas.
A nuestra Santa Chinita, la reina de mis amores.

Que bella está La Placita de alegrías y oraciones
Los poetas y cantores le cantan las mañanitas.
A nuestra Santa Chinita, la reina de mis amores.
Contigo siempre estará mi angustia y mi frenesí,
Para cantarte nací, Virgen de Chiquinquirá.

Para ti bella y preciosa, aquí estoy con mis amores,
Como todos los cantores que trajo tu olor a rosa.


Te pido con ansiedad, virgen de mi devoción,
Que me des la bendición y vigiles tú mi ciudad.

He venido de muy lejos, para ofrecerte Chinita,
Una estrofa caraqueña que me quedó bien bonita.


Es noche de luna llena, Maracaibo es una nota
Gran alegría nos brota en templetes y verbenas.

Es primera vez que canto esta bien tradicional
Para mi es un orgullo cantarle a Chiquinquirá.


Los poetas y cantores, de la capital invitan
A bailar en la placita al ritmo de los tambores.

El Catatumbo y su luz, que ilumina a los zulianos
Bendiga al pueblo cristiano junto al niñito Jesús.


23 diciembre 2010

Things to do next year

I am not aware of any salsa classes in Saffron Walden. Luckily, Cambridge is not that far away. Udoka and Nunchi of Salsa T. offer Cuban-style salsa classes for beginners and improvers. The Monday evening classes are now at Mill Road Baptist Church (starting 10 January 2011); the Wednesday lunch break classes continue at The Centre at St Paul's (from 12 January).

Please note the new timetable of zumba classes with Luisa. Since January 2011, there won't be Tuesday classes at the Lord Butler Leisure Centre any longer. However, there will be classes in Stansted House, Shire Hill, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. The classes at Clavering, Dame Bradbury's School, Great Chesterford and Newport continue as before.

If you missed Chico & Rita (and the chances are you did, given that it was screened only in a handful of theatres in the UK), you can catch it in Saffron Screen on 14 February 2011. (And it's still earlier than its official release in Spain!) Featuring voices of Eman Xor Oña, Limara Meneses and Estrella Morente, original soundtrack by Bebo Valdés as well as compositions by jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk and Cole Porter, this animation must be a treat for all Latin music lovers. In the meantime, go to Chico & Rita website and enjoy the music!

12 diciembre 2010

La canción de la semana #244

...is Española Kolo by the New Mexican outfit A Hawk and a Hacksaw. The song's title refers to Española, a town in New Mexico, and kolo, a Balkan circle dance. Española Kolo appears on the band's forthcoming album, Cervantine. The name of the band itself is a deliberate (if not particularly obvious) misquote from Cervantes's Don Quixote.

08 diciembre 2010

Zumba en Saffron Walden

By now everybody knows that New Year resolutions do not work. And why should they? Let's face it, dieting makes you feel either hungry or guilty or both at the same time, while going to gym is plain boring. Check what The Lazy Person's Guide to Life says about sport in general (if it is not too much work, that is).

Is anyone still reading this blog and, in particular, this post? Good. Here's my two-pronged advice to you, my reader:
  1. Forget the gym.
  2. Don't wait until New Year. Start having fun now.
In this latter endeavour, you can do worse than trying a Zumba class. Colombian Alberto "Beto" Pérez invented this dance fitness workout whatever program in 1990s and called it "Rumbacize". This name, apparently, mutated to "Zumba". (There is a town in Ecuador called Zumba but I don't know how or whether it is connected to Zumba the dance thing.) It doesn't matter if you never danced in your life. You don't have to be fit to do Zumba. You don't even have to want to be fit. All you need is the right attitude: Ditch the workout, Join the party! — hey, probably first ever corporate slogan I like. I'd write more if I were on their payroll, but I am not, so let's move to Saffron Walden bit.

If you live in Saffron Walden area, drop in one of the classes with Luisa Curbelo. She comes from Venezuela and, believe me, she knows her Latin rhythms. In 60 minutes, you'll get your weekly load of calypso, cumbia, flamenco, merengue, reggaeton, salsa, samba (not necessarily in this order) with a dash of belly dancing and a healthy helping of bhangra. Also, you have a chance brush up your Spanish. What are you waiting for? Check the timetable and go!

P.S. Don't forget to bring a pair of comfy sport shoes, some sort of tracksuit, a towel (you'll be sweating, I promise) and a bottle of water.